Dwayne Phillips ' Day Book

Items I happen to view each day. Science, Techonology, Management, Culture, and of course Writing

This is my day book for this week. I have modeled this after science fiction and computer writer Jerry Pournelle's view, or as he calls it, his Day Book. I encourage you to see Jerry Pournelle's site and subscribe to his services.

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This week: November 3-9, 2008

Summary of this week:

Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday - Friday - Saturday - Sunday

Monday November 3, 2008

Here is a detailed review of the "new" Apple MacBook with the aluminum case.

Circuit City will close 155 stores. Though some will point to this as another sign of a bad economy, I have seen Circuit City struggle for years and with good reason. Most of their stores I entered were poorly managed.

Microsoft professes to have learned from its mistakes with Vista in Windows 7.

But pirated copies of Windows 7 are out on the Internet

Windows 7 will scale to 256 processors. This sounds like an arbitraty power of 2 number. It surely must be enough, but I predict that one day it won't be enough just as 64KBytes of RAM wasn't enough.

People tend to flock towards the most popular sites - or the rich get richer.

OpenBSD has its new version released.

Here are 20 pretty good pieces of advice for the participants.

Five fitness tips for information workers - those of us who sit in a chair seven or eight hours a day. Two notes here I support: (1) get a good chair and (2) do yoga (stretching) during the day.

Here is one person's concept of what it costs to start a freelance business. I suggest that you add up all the stuff THEN write one year's salary at the bottom of the list and do the summation. I highly recommend money in the bank unless your mother is willing to house and feed you for a year.

The Hubble space telescople saga continues. NASA got the backup computer working, but still wants to send up a repair part. The trouble is they cannot find the right spare part - those things are kind of old and Radio Shack doesn't carry them anymore.

3D printers (replicators) are now cheaper than laser printers were in 1985. There is a big future in this.

Some things authors don't want to hear. Don't worry about all these other people who have advice for you. Keep writing.

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Tuesday November 4, 2008

Here are some details on Intel's next processor to come out maybe this month - Nehalem. Intel had to start using such goofy words when other companies copied their numbers (80286, 80386, 80486). That is why the Pentium was called the Pentium instead of 80586. They learned in court that you couldn't copyright a number.

And there will be problems with the voting machines in today's U.S. election.

Here is Windows 7 running on a new MacBook Pro. If you work in the right place you can obtain a few widgets ahead of everyone else.

Lessig discusses a change in the Free Software Foundation's licensing policies. This will allow Wikipedia, if its creators choose to do so, to be licensed differently to the benefit of many.

The portable computer (at least the idea for it) is forty years old.

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Wednesday November 5, 2008 

The U.S. Presidential election is history with Barrack Obama to be the next President of the United States. I am terribly disappointed with the national news media. The Washington Post and others use their headlines to proclaim variations of "first black president." First, the line is incorrect. Senator Obama's father is black and his mother is white, so he is of mixed race, and he takes pride in that. Second, after all that has happened, to reduce the campaign to a comment on race belittles Senator Obama, the American people, and the media themselves. I should have never taken journalism in junior high school.

Ultra WideBand appears to be dead as Intel is dropping it as well. UWB was to replace USB 2.0 with the same transfer speed but no wires. Alas, not to be.

The FCC has approved the use of the "white space." No regulation - something I like, competition - something else I like.

My youngest son told me of this one, someone hacked into the mail server at George Mason University and sent an email to all students proclaiming that the U.S. elections were postponed a day. And people think computer voting is okay?

This professor will be trying wikis and such to teach one of her classes. An interesting experiment. One of the things to remember is that this is a college class, so she can require students to participate in these tools. I have tried in vain to use such tools in voluntary community classes.

Firefox now has a 20% share of the browser market.

Dell is asking its employees to take a week off without pay to help cut costs.  I saw this with several companies back in the 1980s. The result was not good then.

Here is some trivia I have never heard, the American generation of 1925-1942 is the only one in U.S. history NOT to have a president.

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Thursday November 6, 2008

Here is yet another list of productivity tools for creative people. Too many adjectives here, but a nice list.

A touching post about what is truly important.

This post is about (among others things) facing rejection and continuing anyway. The successful writers I know have received countless rejections. That is one of the tensions of being "creative." You have that sensitivity to do something unusual, but then you are also tough enough to be rejected and keep going.

Evidently Windows is not the only operating system that can be slimmed on install. Here is how to do the same with OS X.

Perhaps WiMax will make it. The FCC has approved a merger in that direction.

The WPA WiFi encryption has been broken. Time to move on to something else.

Intel is moving on, phasing out the 45nm process that was brand new and exciting just a short while ago.

Apple has 48% more employees now than it did a year ago. I trust they are hiring wisely.

Author Michael Crichton died at age 66.

Several "green" initiatives lost at the ballot box this week in the U.S. Perhaps many of those 53% who voted for Obama were voting against Bush instead of for Obama's change initiatives.

Here is some advice to "spare no expense" on your business. These are all subjective terms interpeted in vastly different ways. Take care.

I like Johanna Rothman's post on abandoning vs. killing projects. There are many words we could use when we stop work on a project. There are many different ways to stop or suspend work on a project. The words and techniques we use are important to the people involved.

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Friday November 7, 2008

AT&T is now the world's largest WiFi hotspot vendor.

Windows 7 will come out in 2009 - or maybe early 2010. Spin, marketing, and so on.

Barack Obama has established change.gov to allow Americans to participate in his administration. I read parts of it - nice lofty goals, but I cannot find any substance.

Here are some initial impressions of Dell's 12"-screen really small portable computer.

Honda unveils a walking assist device. This is a small exoskeleton type of device to help people walk who can already walk, but with some difficulty. It seems excellent for the elderly. I hope we see more to come in this area.

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Saturday November 8, 2008

NVIDIA had a bad year financially. They are seeking protection from imports. I agree with the protection. If they don't get it, they will disappear and one day Intel will be the only chip maker in America. Then we will be in a situation where the government cannot allow Intel to fail, and so on.

Here is an interesting take on Apple's success with the iPhone - leave out features. Focus on only a few features that users "want."

This post expresses one opinion about gasoline prices - some Americans want high gas prices so that people will stop buying large vehicles. The trouble with this idea is that high fuel prices raise the price of everything else we buy as everything else we buy is transported to stores in vehicles that buy the fuel. One answer is of course to legislate away large, personal vehicles. If you like government telling you what to do, that is a good solution.

This is kind of a strange idea for keeping your USB stick handy, but why not.

Barack Obama has big plans for the Federal Government's IT. I truly wish him well on this one. I slogged around in it for 28 years and was rarely impressed with its quality.

Here is an annoucement about the formation of the ODF Toolkit Union. IBM and Sun are in it. They will work on toolkits that make the Open Document Format easier to use. This could be a good thing.

Toshiba has a portable computer with three graphical processing units in it.

It appears that the government will now look more closely at the H-1B visa program. This was predictable. If the U.S. economy slows, people will not tolerate foreign workers.

Our "friends" in the Chinese government are hacking into the White House's emails. How will President Obama deal with this one?

Here is a closer look at the updated MacBook Air. It is faster, but still not as fast as many wish. How many giga-flops do you need in a portable computer? I know, I am just old.

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Sunday November 9, 2008

Here is a post about the Medici Effect. Basically, combine ideas from disparate fields into new ideas. Making connections has seemed to me to be one of the great abilities a person can have. Some connections are connecting people. Some connections are connecting ideas, others connecting experiences.

Here are some ways to go wireless in a wired-only motel room. I knew about the Apple product, but not the others.

Mcor has a little different take on 3D printers. This one uses paper, you cut the paper and then use some glue. This will work for some applications.

I like this post on the developing the habit of writing. There are many ways to create this habit, but they all involve putting your fingers to the keyboard or hand to the pencil and writing everyday.

How much time should a freelancer spend working each day? Just enough and not any more.

Some people are blaming or crediting the really small portable computers on a loss in Microsoft's profits. Companies will adjust to the desires of the consumers or they will fail.

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